Free Tick Testing Now Available

We are striving to ensure that the best resources available are made known to you or those you hold close and to provide free, timely information as to whether a tick they have encountered is an infected or uninfected tick. More information about the specifics of tick testing can be found at the following websites:

HOW IT WORKS

With most of the sites listed above, the tick can be dead or alive, but ideally collected less than 72 hours ago. Put your tick in a small zipper-locked bag with a moist cotton ball or piece of wet paper towel. If you have access to a small vial and alcohol, you can use that instead.

IDENTIFY YOUR TICK

Click here for images of some of the different tick species in North America. Try and identify what species of tick you are sending beforehand, but don’t worry if you can’t determine the species.

CONSIDERATIONS

It’s important to understand a bit about tick testing when you send a tick:

  • Tick testing is highly accurate — most services are using qPCR DNA based tests following column based extractions that are very specific and sensitive — however, no test is 100% definitive due to sampling error, extraction error, and qPCR error. While tests by mail are very good, they cannot be 100%.
  • Different ticks in the US carry different types of pathogens. Depending on the species of tick you submit, most services will perform up to six tests for up to six different pathogens most likely to cause disease in mammals (including humans, dogs, horses, etc.)
  • Current diagnostic tools for Lyme and other tick-borne infections may give false negatives, so it’s important to be aware of your own physical health and seek continuing advice if you start to feel ill. Alternatively, some tests will give false positives, something you should also be aware of.